Dido and Aeneas is one of the truly great early operas. Written by the English composer Henry Purcell it had its world premiere in 1688. The piece tells the story of the love of Dido, Queen of Carthage, for the Trojan hero Aeneas, and her deep despair when he abandons her.
One of the most enduring mezzo-soprano arias of all time is Dido’s Lament which is sung by Dido to her sister/handmaiden Belinda. She sings:
When I am laid in earth, may my wrongs create no trouble in thy breast. Remember me, but ah, forget my fate!
It is such a moving piece, but through the absolutely mesmerizing artistry of British soprano Sarah Connolly this aria is nothing short of heart-stoppingly brilliant.
I would’ve liked to have shared with you a clip of her in a performance of the opera, but I couldn’t find one that shows the entire piece. So, I bring you her 2009 performance from Royal Albert Hall in which she sings the full aria. Her solo is then followed by the chorus, which sings the finale, “With drooping wings ye cupids come.”
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